Orkney Islands Council
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On this day in 1917 - Airship lost off Papay

On this day in 1917 - Airship lost off Papay
26 November 2017

Today (Sunday 26 November) marks 100 years since three crewmen were lost when their airship crashed off Papay at 11:40 on 26 November 1917.

A.M 1 Albert Edwin Scott, Lieut RN Edmund Bourchier Devereux (sometimes recorded as Fl Lt ‘Edward’ Bourchier Devereux)  and W/T LM Edgar James Wilson were aboard a 'Sea Scout Pusher' which left the Caldale Camp for operations in the North of Orkney at 08:50.

At 11:20 the crew reported engine failure saying they were going to land in the sea North-West of Papay and required assistance.

At 11:40 a look-out on board the HMS Leopard, which was patrolling in the area, reported seeing an airship land in the sea and then explode.

Despite an extensive search nothing of the crew or airship was found.

Albert Edwin Scott was lost in an airship crash off Papay on November 26 2019

In October, the family of one of the men lost - 24 year old Engineer A.M 1 Albert Edwin Scott, - travelled to Orkney to hold a private memorial service at Caldale.

Caldale Camp was built as a WW1 airship station around 1915 and was first commissioned with the Royal Navy Air Service in July 1916.

There were two large air ship hangars as part of the complex, as well as numerous other buildings.  There was also a maintenance camp and living quarters for the 200 men working on the base.

The station was equipped with four Sea Scout Pusher or Submarine Scout Pusher non-rigid airships or SSPs and an array of kite balloons which were towed behind ships and used to spot enemy activity from the air by means of a suspended basket.

The SSPs were manned by two to three crew - in a small 'car' suspended beneath the envelope and carried wireless telegraphy equipment, 160lbs of bombs and a Lewis gun. They carried fuel for eight hours flying in two fuel tanks.